The Pittsburgh Riverhounds didn’t quite start off their 2016 season the way they wanted to. As midfielder Marshall Hollingsworth said after the match the weather, which was cold, wet and a mixture of snow and rain, didn’t help either.
However, the match was still played and the Riverhounds hosted the Rochester Rhinos at Highmark Stadium. The team fell victim to a 0-1 loss after an early goal from Christian Volesky in the 7th minute would end up sealing the deal. Goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap didn’t have a chance, as Volesky put the ball right out of his reach, above him.
The Riverhounds did have plenty of positive moves in the second half. While the first half was mainly stuck on defending the Rhinos and trying to stop them from engaging in getting a higher lead, the second half was focused on attacking the Rhinos defense and their goalkeeper Adam Grinwis. Head coach Mark Steffens was not happy about the loss, but did agree that the team had plenty of positives.
“There’s a lot of positives we can take from the second half,” Steffens said. “In the first half, we played into their hands a little bit too much and it cost us. There were some good things, but we’ve got a lot of things to work on for sure.”
The Riverhounds had a super substitute moment when Corey Hertzog came into the match at halftime to replace Lebo Moloto, who was suffering from a groin injury in the week. Hertzog had three shot attempts in five minutes, which were all on goal. Defender Drew Russell played a big part in attributing to those chances, as he spent the entire night feeding the ball to his midfielders and forwards.
Also making a big impact in the match was Marshall Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth, who came to the team on loan from the Columbus Crew SC MLS team along with Ben Swanson, started the match in the midfield, but seemed to be all over the pitch. However, he said he felt most comfortable at left back, where he played a good portion of the match in.
Hollingsworth said that the loss might of had to do with the team chemistry. The Riverhounds did bring in 17 new players to start out the 2016 USL season.
“We’re all still trying to get to know each other,” Hollingsworth said. “We still have guys coming in and guys coming out. It will take us awhile to get to know each other, not just as soccer players, but also as men. We need to gain a strong relationship where we really trust each other and get to know each other’s styles. It’s a new group, but I’m very confident that we’ll get it together. It will take some time, but this happens with every team.”
The Riverhounds will have chances to get that chemistry to be stronger before they return to Highmark Stadium again next Saturday to face the Harrisburg City Islanders. The match, just like the one against the Rhinos, will kick off at 7 p.m.